How to Use Cards, etc, for ADD ADHD — ADD Tip o the Day 460

Momma has suggested more details about using cards, lists, small steps and priorities for adult ADD ADHD.  And some other questions. This will take a few posts.

CARDS: the red card, list of five, things to be attempted today. Limit it to five or I’ll be overwhelmed and can’t figure out where to start, and will procrastinate, stagnate, and flop around in useless circles – probably flee to FreeCell. These five also need to be small things, or the same paralysis will result.

What to put on Red Card?

Not routine things!  I don’t put “brush my teeth”, or “eat lunch”.

I don’t put “practice guitar” cause I want to do that a little everyday anyway.  However, if it’s a day I’ve picked to especially devote to guitar, then I’ll put it on.  But small steps -it’s better if I particularly want to work on one thing – then “practice C scale” or “practice I Remember You”.   Less overwhelming, more specific, easier to get started.

House work?  If it’s routine, not on card.  But if Tuesday is the day to clean the kitchen, then maybe, “kitchen”. And if it’s something special, not routine, then “wax kitchen floor” for sure.

More next time.

add,adhd,adult add,adult adhd,strategies,cards,procrastination

The Red Card

I love getting suggestions, book reviews and blog comments – Thank you, Momma.

As I complete tasks I cross them off.  I also keep re-numbering the order I more or less plan to do them in.  When the card gets full or too messy, I throw it away and start a new Red Card (if I had a better supply and wasn’t so cheap (sorry, I meant thrifty) I would use a new card every day.

Here’s the input from Momma.   clik

Short answer to a question- When everything is out of whack, start with one thing (ie one area, one problem, etc).

‘OK, but everything’s a mess.’   Yes, I know, but you’ve been living that way for a while, so you’re not gonna fix it all in one day and you need to start somewhere.


more on  lists  clik

more on red card  clik

more on small steps  clik

Bonus Site o the Day:   Orlov on bedtimes for couples   clik

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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10 Responses to How to Use Cards, etc, for ADD ADHD — ADD Tip o the Day 460

  1. Pingback: It’s In the Cards – Another ADD ADHD Strategy — ADD Tip O the Day | ADDadultstrategies

  2. Pingback: My Best ADD ADHD Strategy – Overdone?– – – ADD Tip o the Day 554 | ADDadultstrategies

  3. adderollin says:

    Just wanted to say thanks. I wanted to email you personally, but could not find an email anywhere, so figured this would be the next best thing.
    Rewind: At age 12, I was diagnosed with ADHD. Last medication I took (if I remember correctly) was Ritalin. I had to get off of it to join the Army… they wouldn’t allow me to join if I didn’t. So I did.
    Now, Im 29 years old, active duty military with over 10 years of service – have served in special operations for the last 6. Over those last 6 years, I have been in a very high paced environment, home for a few months, and then go to Iraq or Afghanistan – come back after 6 months, and go again. This has been my op tempo for those 6 years. I thought about getting out of the military because I was feeling burnt out by the deployments and time away from my wife and kids. The powers that be wanted me to stick around, and suggested I take a knee and drink water, so to speak. Now I work in a setting where I evaluate potential candidates by having them undergo physical and mental events, etc; When we’re done with these events, I am required to write about these students and evaluate their performance. This is when I began to notice my ADHD “monster” coming back pretty bad. I was having a lot of trouble concentrating, staying on task, getting things accomplished that needed to be – I haven’t been in such a typical work setting (at least for me on so long.) I asked one of the psychs that we work with for advice, and she got me an appointment with a friend of hers, who then had me get with another doctor who prescribed me Adderall. It’s been almost a month, and I have never felt better. I feel organized, I get things done I set out to do, I dont feel nearly as edgy or irritated as I used to – all because I got the treatment I finally needed.
    I didn’t understand why I worked so well before, but now life is a bit slower. The doctor told me people with ADHD tend to thrive off of that highly stressful, fast paced movement that I’ve been going through between deploying, training, and what not the last several years. Now that Im slowing down, its becoming harder to control because it is not as fast paced as it used to be. Im guessing that could really be it… because I once again feel like a fully functioning adult lol. Adderall and getting help has truly given me a new lease on life. Not just for me, but my family. I cant even begin to imagine how many times my wife had to tell me where I put my kids, or when I was going to finish so and so…. but she doesn’t anymore. In fact, I find myself helping her more at times! Its amazing… Im just glad I finally got the help and treatment I needed. I don’t care about the stigma with it – I don’t care that I need to pop another Adderall mid way through the day to keep me focused and accomplishing what I need to do – because I am doing just that.
    Your book – is amazing. I read a preview from Amazon, and bought it immediately after. Some of the things you discuss, I really thought I was the only one who did that as an adult – it was really like a breath of fresh air reading. The strategies are just as great, I have adopted a couple already. However, I typically do it with my smart phone (the lists and what not) – tend to be a nerd with technology. I haven’t finished it yet, really don’t want reading it to be over. hah.. I read a few pages a day, and go about my business.

    With all that said and out of the way, thanks. I will definitely be following your blog (already do on Twitter now) and taking more of your advice along the way, Im sure. Thank you once again…


    • rollin
      thank you so much, you have made my day!
      reading a few pages a day is probably the best way to go. read,digest, figure out what will work for you.
      thank you for your comment, hope you will comment some more in the future.
      best wishes


  4. homemakersdaily says:

    I guess I do something like that once in a while – when I’m having trouble getting started. I usually have a to-do list in my planner but sometimes I can’t get started. So I get out a spiral notebook and make a list of the next 5 things I’m going to do. It does include routine things. It might be: 1. Tidy house; 2. Sweep the floors. 3. Dump the trash cans. 4. Start laundry. 5. Call insurance company. When I get those 5 done, I make 5 more. Usually that gets me started and I can switch back to my to-do list but sometimes I do it that way all day long.

    Sometimes it’s overwhelming to make a to-do list for the day so the next 5 things is more manageable.

    I also sometimes limit the size of my to-do list to 10 things. It still includes routine things, though. Again, that list might be: 1. Bible; 2. Tidy & sweep; 3. Grocery list. 4. grocery store. 5. make dinner. 6. blog. 7. Exercise. 8. Laundry. 9. Mail. 10. Text Jeanette. If I finish the list, I can make a list of 5 more. But I have to be selective about what I put on the list and the rule is that I only do those 10 things first unless I messed up and forgot something important. Sometimes this list works well for me and other times it overwhelms me to make it.

    I’m a mess, I think.


    • homey-
      why do you say you’re a mess? it sounds like a great approach which is working for you. if you don’t mind, i may use your comment as a post.
      the long list with routine things kind of sounds like a schedule, which is one thing that helps me. the day is planned out? and the rule is good, nothing else til these are done – a way to cope with distractions.
      also, most of those things don’t sound routine? except make dinner, you may not do them every day?
      as always, thanks


      • homemakersdaily says:

        Feel free to use the comment any way you want.

        I guess I’m doing okay outwardly but inside I feel overwhelmed. Truth is, I’ve felt that way most of my life. When I talked to friends about it, none of them understood what I was talking about. They looked at my accomplishments and assumed I was doing fine. They didn’t understand that it took a lot of effort to hold things together.

        And it still does. And you know what I think? I think I’m being too hard on myself. I have a LOT going on right now and it’s all really hard stuff. My schedule is nuts and I’m actually doing a lot. My friend, Suzanne, who also has ADHD, said she couldn’t believe how much I was doing given my circumstances.

        So now that you mention it, maybe I’m not a mess. Maybe I’m just being too hard on myself, especially in light of my current circumstances. Like you, my life has changed recently and I’m still trying to come up with a new routine.

        Thank you, Doug. You always have such practical and wise things to say. I think I might feel better!


  5. It’s a good piece of advice – I use a post-it note on my laptop screen with just four ‘to-do’ things on it. It certainly helps keep me on task!


  6. Pingback: Basic Organizing | Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD

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